The Bucs swept the Sanford Pentagon Showcase in South Dakota over the weekend, bringing home three wins against tough teams.
The Bucs went against the Milwaukee Panthers on Friday night, taking their lead in the second half. The Panthers played a different man to man defense, but the Bucs were able to go on a 11-1 run, with 21 of their second half points coming off turnovers. ETSU got the win 86-62.
On Saturday, the Bucs were up against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits who posed a 1-3-1 zone. The second half seemed to be golden for the Bucs, as they led South Dakota by 26 points. Senior T.J Cromer (Albany, Ga.) posted 22 points on the night, a game high. They held the Jackrabbits to only shooting 26 percent.
The Bucs earned the win 71-59, the biggest win of the tournament.
UC Irvine, who would play a 2-3 zone, was the next opponent on the Bucs’ list on Sunday. This time, the Bucs went behind by eight in the second half but were able to rally together to get the 72-66 win.
Cromer again posted the game high points with 15. Desonta Bradford (Humholdt) was also seen on the boards again, this time with six rebounds.
Three days of games meant three different styles of play. Each team brought something different against the Bucs and they were able to adapt and step up to the challenge that this brought.
“The number one thing would be our depth and our ability to not only play a lot of different ways but play a lot of different people,” said Head Coach Steve Forbes.
The Bucs played 12 men over the weekend and all 12 either scored or made another type of impact on the game. This depth is contributed by the age of this ETSU team.
There are six seniors, all dominant players and good leaders. The rest of the team, except for one, are juniors.
“I do believe that our age and our experience has helped us win these games,” Forbes said. “It will help us throughout the year.”
The tough teams proposed in this showcase are meant to help the Bucs prepare for the SoCon season that will start in late December. These challenges of ever-changing opponents are what prepare the team to succeed down the road.
Even though the Bucs won all three games, there is always room for improvement, especially within defense as well as free-throw shooting.
The Bucs are back in Freedom Hall on Dec. 7 against Lees-McRae as their final game of the Sanford Pentagon Showcase.